Context:

  • With India’s rapid rise to fame as the ‘fastest growing large economy’ in the world and UK’s alienation from Brexit, the relations between the two countries could restart.
  • But India is more concerned towards highlighting issues of tension between the two countries whereas; Britain focuses almost solely on the untapped potential to enhance the trade deal between the two countries.

India- UK relation in the present day context:

  • Indian mission in the UK: The Indian mission in the UK on May 22, 2017 organized the first community-wide anti-terrorism pledge.
  • The pledge is taken by Indian embassies and missions around the world to coincide with former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s death anniversary on May 21, marked as Anti-Terrorism Day in India.
  • The Indian High Commissioner to UK was of the opinion that the scourge of terrorism affects innocent lives not just in one country but across the globe.
  • Post-Brexit Britain: India’s significance in post-Brexit Britain will depend on the terms of negotiation between the European Union and Britain.
  • Hard Brexit will give full power to Britain to control its borders and make new trade deals and this helps to seal the FTA between the UK and India on a priority basis.
  • If the UK accepts soft Brexit, then the European Union will insist on agreeing to the free movement of goods, services, capital and people.
  • In this scenario there isn’t much improvement in the UK-India relation nor will India have a significant role in post soft-Brexit Britain.

 Post-Brexit opportunities in which India and the UK business relations can develop:

  • Getting rid of EU (European Union) regulations, Britain will be more flexible and increase trade between the two nations as a result.
  • GDP growth: As one of the fastest growing economies with a GDP growth projection of 42.9% (period growth at constant prices) between 2016 and 2021, there are ample investment opportunities in India.
  • Telecommunications: Globally, India ranked number 3 in 2016 in terms of investment in telecommunications at US$13.1 bn (constant prices), making India one of the best suitors to invest in the UK’s telecommunication sector.
  • Tariff free: In the absence of the EU-India free trade agreement, the UK expects to benefit from tariff free trade with India.
  • Export: Britain will be able to increase its exports to India by more than £2 billion per year after Brexit by cutting EU red tape.
  • There is significant potential for the growth in the export of pearls and precious stones from the UK to India, cars and car parts and alcohol.
  • Import: Imports from India to the UK will rise by around £1 billion, meaning the UK’s balance of trade will be improved.

India and the UK Post-Brexit business challenges:

  • Terrorism:  In the context of Brexit, unlike the United States’ contemporary view, India continues to be hyphenated with Pakistan in London’s outlook.
  • India states the fact that bilateral relations went beyond the economic realm to issues such as security and terrorism were not being heeded in Britain, despite continuous efforts by India over the past decades.
  • Immigration: Immigration policy could stand in the way, among other things. Numbers of students from India have been declining dramatically in recent years.
  • Forcing international students to move back to their homeland can be detrimental to the British economy in the long term.
  • Totalisation agreement: The UK government has also made it mandatory for people to pay a health care surcharge as part of their immigration application.
  • When employees are there for a short term as part of their work, it is important that they get to keep their hard-earned money rather than giving UK thousands of pounds of free money as social security taxes.
  • Therefore, it is important for UK and India to sign the totalisation agreement at the earliest.
  • The totalisation agreement with the UK would have exempted Indian professionals who are working for a certain period of time in the UK from paying those social security taxes if they are paying such taxes in India.  The previous stand given by the British government for not entering into totalisation agreement with India was fiscal pressures as a result of the global financial crisis.

Suggestion:

  • India has been facing terrorism for decades but its high time that the country confronts such issues beyond the FTAs India had signed globally.
  • It is important that the UK engages more with the Diasporas to develop the relationship for mutual benefit.
  • The UK has to have a long-term, holistic approach to India, where it really pushes educational and cultural ties and uses them to future-proof the UK-India relationship.

To read more about India-UK relation: Click Here


 

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